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With the world being shaped by migration, this essay comes at a timely fashion. Exploring the nuances of this reality, Valeria Luiselli, a skilful and gifted Mexican writer knows the migratory experience first-hand having travelled across the globe. This compassionate, short book finds her in a head-on confrontation with daily reality.
Based on her experiences working as an interpreter for dozens of Central American child migrants, she speaks to those who risked their lives crossing Mexico to escape their fraught existence back home. To stay in the US, each must be vetted by the Citizenship and Immigration Services, a vast, impersonal bureaucracy. It's her job to help these kids, but in order to do so, they must answer 40 questions that will determine their fate.
The truth about the crossing may be much more brutal in reality, with 80% of women and girls who cross from Mexico to the US being raped, hence some of the children appear evasive when answering questions. But this book is fueled, in no small part, by Luiselli's bottles up shame and rage. She's aghast at the gap between American ideals and the way they actually treat undocumented children, yet her writing is measured and fair-minded.
Luiselli takes us inside the grand dream of migration, offering the valuable reminder that exceedingly few immigrants abandon their past and brave death to come to America for dark or nasty reasons. Fantastic read.